First Nikon D4s Vs. D4 High ISO Image Comparison

First Nikon D4s Vs. D4 High ISO Image Comparison

It hasn't even been a day since the Nikon D4s was released and we're already seeing pixel-peeping side-by-side comparisons of it and the D4. First reported on Nikon Rumors, the site ClubSNAP posted a comparison of files from the D4 and its successor at extremely high ISO. Judging by these high ISO images we can expect some really awesome low-light performance out of Nikon's new flagship model.

Even at ISO 25,600 the D4s is producing usable files with a noticeable improvement over the D4 and at 51,200 the improvement is even more pronounced. While I wouldn't recommend keeping yours set there all the time, it's certainly nice to have the option.





The test goes all the way up to an astonishing ISO 409,600. While the image looks quite a bit like a Georges Seurat painting, at this sensitivity the D4s can practically shoot in the dark.


What does this increased ISO performance mean for Nikon and your photography? Tell us in the comments below.

[Via Nikon Rumors]

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Those ISO levels are more for marketing purposes then anything remotely usable. I would prefer if they held off on releasing cameras with ultra high ISO capability until the technology actually got to a halfway decent IQ.


I photograph a lot of natural light portraits for NYC families and using speedlights is often impractical. I often times shoot in ISO 3200 range, so low noise is of utmost importance. I'm sure a lot of nighttime/indoor sports shooters feel the same.

David Vaughn's picture

That may be, but ISO 3200 is still within the ISO standard. The H1-4 ISOs are basically gained by some processor trickery, since, to my knowledge, there is no standardization of ISOs higher than 6400 (maybe 3200? I can't remember).

They're not "real" ISOs that the sensor is capable of.

yes David, my understanding is the same

I shot landscape and I have quite a lot of landscape photograph is barely possible because of the High ISO ability in the D4 camera

Graham Marley's picture

I saw the larger original post, and the benefits of the NR (which is what this is, these are jpegs with NR) were really only apparent after ISO 12800. Everything before that, the D4 had more detail. I'd want to see raw files before any of this meant anything other than legitimately nice NR past the point of preposterous ISO levels.

Yes, i've noticed that too. At 3200 iso for example the D4 seems to perform way better in term of details, than the "s" version. Maybe they're using different settings of noise reduction, maybe the "s" pictures are slightly out of focus, but the D4 really looks better before 12800.

yes noticed that too.

Useful for the next Superman movie...

Links to RAW file download added for 3 pictures!

You will need to have Photoshop CC and Adobe Camera Raw v8.4 Release
Candidate installed on your computer to open the D4s RAW files.

Forget about CR for Nikon NEF. You better use the new Nikon NX-D. The beta version is free!

I already tried NX-D. It does not allow conversion of D4s files. All you get is a preview of the embedded JPEG with no option to change or export anything.

Oh well, sorry I thought they have it already build in (unbelievable that D4s isn't supported!) but I don't have a D4s to check. But D4 NEFs look incredible with NX-D (like NX 2).

Well, I wouldn't know because it is not supported in NX-D. Plus I am a Lightroom user. Anyway the RAW conversions are out now. One of the pictures contributed is processed with NX2. You can see here:

Matei Horvath's picture

Yeah Nikon would do themselves a favor if they released official samples shot at these high iso settings, before images from blog sites form elsewhere pop up with unflattering images shot by the new D4s. I saw those samples too, but all shots taken by clubSnap with the D4s seemed 'off' as in slightly out of focus. I am not sure if it was the technique of the photographer, if the camera/lens needed micro-adjustment or what not but why let others paint an ugly picture of a camera just because you didn't have all your bases covered and released proper samples to shut everyone off?!

Karl-Filip Karlsson's picture

they can not do the reverse. And do ISO 20, ISO 10 for even more detail to the images. Would you like a portrait photographer go to ISO 400 000 .. hmm noot!

ISO actually works both ways. The lower you go the higher the noise goes. Sensors actually have curves where iso 100 is usually highest or in some other camera with base iso 200 the noise performance usually peaks around that base iso. And deteriorates on either side. + or -

Matt Wade's picture

I shoot at ISO 200 as a standard because it guarantees quality instead of wondering if I'm losing something at ISO 100.

The D4s delivers distinctively better images but I doubt that except for paparazzis and private eyes anyone would need to shoot at ISO 50k more than once a year if at all.

no it does not.
as others mentioned already the orignal D4 has better details at low ISO.

ISO is not everything. To reduce it just to ISO isn't right (though cleaner images at ISO 3200 would not be that bad).

lol... unusable crap.. maybe useable for newspaper print..... or your facebook crap.
all the high ISO stuff is for the feature list.
this is a PRO camera and what client, except editorial/journalism, will accept such bad quality??

and im right that this "better" iso performance is JPG only?

well i shoot raw and everyone concerned about quality will do the same i guess.
jpg image quality ... who really cares?
that is just better noise reduction.... can have that in PS.

Nope. The RAW files are superior. The results from RAW conversion is very impressive. Check it out here

Why don't you tell me what's better...having no shot whatsoever, or at least having a shot even though it's low quality? This is a rhetorical question of course.

This feature does not take anything else away from the camera, so you complaining about it just shows the pure folly in your comment. To get ISO 400k, they're not taking away another feature. This is a feature on top of everything else in the camera. If you don't want to use it, well, you always have to option of not using it!

Bartosch Salmanski's picture

Ok, and how does it concour in the low iso range ?

RAW file conversion results posted in the same thread in ClubSNAP.
You can check it out here:

I love your product, but I am a photographer, i'm not a videographer, as a result of this could you manufacture a DSLR Nikon DS4 that does not have 1080 video capability as I don't want it, don't need it and won't be paying £5,100 for the pleasure.

Nikon why dont you just make 2 versions of the same camera

Nikon D4S without video

Nikon D4SV with video

Because in large part, these bodies are made for the media. They DO have to shoot various kinds of images and movies now like never before. I see the need for the addition of the video... But make no mistake, I'm so on your side about adding....AND making such a flap over these types of capabilities in a PRO body..

I've got news for you. Even though you can consider this a "professional" body, the fact remains that the majority of these that are sold are not sold to professionals, but rather amateurs and enthusiasts. That margin will continue to get even bigger as photography becomes a hobby for more and more people. So yes, making a big deal of stuff like this IS important.

But maybe you're right, you know, one person's logic is clearer better than a whole international corporation's.